COVID Worldwide: The Hungry Skeptics’ Edition

As COVID-19 continues to pound the globe, people are getting restless and angry.

A second wave of the virus continues to hit Europe. As of last week, nearly half of all new COVID-19 infections were in Europe. Officials in several countries are worried that not enough hospital beds will be available to care for all of the sick. Belgium has begun “deporting” severely ill patients to Germany as it runs out of hospital space. Poland is using its army to figure out which hospitals have beds.

Many countries, including the U.K., Belgium, France and Italy, are resuming or considering stricter lockdowns, some in hopes that lockdowns now will prevent the need for strict measures over the Christmas holidays. These measures and related economic worries have begun to foment rebellions. After Italian President Conte instituted new rules last week, protestors in Florence threw Molotov cocktails at police. Protests began in Naples, Italy, in response to a local curfew, and luxury stores were looted in Milan and Turin.

In Paris, students blockaded a high school to protest against inadequate COVID-19 protection measures. Riot police pepper-sprayed the students.

Many Europeans are looking to their national governments for unemployment money. In Ireland, roughly 85,000 additional people claimed COVID-19 jobless benefits after the country instituted additional restrictions two weeks ago. After a partial lockdown in German, workers and employers in the arts and hospitality industries marched on Berlin for financial support. Mayors of nine cities, including Barcelona, Lisbon, Prague and Milan, have demanded that the president of the European Council, Charles Michel give them access to monies from the EU recovery fund, bypassing their own governments.

A study released by the World Health Organization reported that people have lost motivation to follow public health guidelines. People have become skeptical that their governments can keep people safe and employed (or at least adequately supplied) during the pandemic.

In Nigeria, mobs overran and looted government-owned warehouses full of food left without means as a result of coronavirus lockdowns. Nigeria has experienced protests over objections to police tactics. In earlier attacks, the police dispersed the crowds by firing their guns into the air. Those raiding the facilities claim that they are starving and need the food.

The private sector coalition CA-COVID gave tens of millions of dollars to the Nigerian government to aid coronavirus victims, but many state authorities stopped distributing food as COVID-19 restrictions eased. Nigerians are now accusing the government of hoarding or distributing the food unequally as people starve. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) has said that the provisions are being held for the most vulnerable people.

A recent study in Uganda on social unrest in the slums of Kampala found that as funds dried up due to lockdowns, wives denied sex to their husbands and shamed them in front of their children for “failure to provide basic needs.” The government has been supplying rations, but they often are not enough. According to the researchers, men who claimed to be unable to provide for their families also reported coming home drunk, which made the wives ask “where they had got the money to drink alcohol.” Divorces and separations went up during the course of the study.

As outbreaks continue in Brazil, protesters in Sao Paulo demonstrated against a vaccine mandate. Sao Paulo state Governor Joao Doria has said residents will be required to get a vaccine, most probably the one under joint development by China’s Sinovac and the Butantan Institute. Brazilians are calling it the CoronaVac. President Jair Bolsonaro has encouraged the protests. Late-stage clinicals trials of the CanSino vaccine also have begun in Mexico.

While Sao Paolo state officials have said that Brazil has agreed to buy CoronaVac doses produced locally, the president has said he will not allow vaccines to be imported from China. Bolsonaro’s health minister, Eduardo Pazuello, later gave Butantan permission to import 6 million doses. However, last week, the president repeated that he would not buy the vaccine. He added that the governor should “find someone else to buy your vaccine.”

Disclaimer: This article does not provide medical advice. Do not take action based solely on this article and always consult with an appropriate healthcare professional. This article is purely for informational purposes.

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